Weil, Frank Leopold

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WEIL, FRANK LEOPOLD (1894–1957), U.S. lawyer and communal leader. Weil founded the law firm of Weil, Gotshal and Manges in 1926. Weil led many Jewish and general community efforts in a voluntary capacity. Long active in scouting, he was a member of the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America and chairman of the Jewish Committee on Scouting. He was president of the 92nd Street ymywha, New York, 1932–40 and of the n.y. Metropolitan Section of the National Jewish Welfare Board (jwb). From 1940 to 1950 he served as president of the National Jewish Welfare Board and in this capacity convened the first meeting which created the United Service Organizations (uso), becoming a vice president and later chairman of the President's Committee on Religion and Welfare in the Armed Forces. As president of the jwb during World War ii, he succeeded in mobilizing U.S. Jewry for moral and religious support of the military on an unprecedented scale and received the Medal of Merit, the highest U.S. government civilian award.

Weil was also instrumental in initiating the historical study of jwb and the Jewish community center movement with a view to determining their postwar objectives. The significant recommendations of the jwb survey were adopted in 1948. During Weil's presidency, jwb undertook the sponsorship of the Jewish Book Council of America; the National Jewish Music Council; and, for several years, the American Jewish Historical Society. He was a founder and president of the World Federation of ymhas, Jewish Community Centers, and of the National Social Welfare Assembly. In 1952 he was chairman of the National Citizens Committee for un Day. A vice president of Temple Emanu-El, New York, he was elected chairman of the board of governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, which established the Frank L. Weil Institute of Advanced Studies in Religion and the Humanities in his memory.

[Philip Goodman]